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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 23:38 
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Some of you may remember a thread on the original CSCP forum, in which an alleged case of speeding against me was debated.

With the demise of the forum I can alas no longer look this up, but a gratifyingly substantial number of forum members offered to chip in £10 towards my costs, should I choose to "go all the way" to court, then lose the case.

Well cometh the hour, cometh the man. Today was that day, and I have just returned from a trip to deepest Cheshire, in order to attempt to influence the deliberations of their worships.

Well the outcome was that there was no case to answer, as the prosecution failed to introduce any primary evidence that any offence had been committed.

Now I must stress that this happy outcome was almost entirely the result of the excellent legal advice and assistance that I received via the pepipoo website, to whom I am immensely indebted.

So with Paul's leave, I'd like to propose that all those who remember making kind offers of financial support instead make them to the funds of pepipoo, who are doing as good a job of tackling the scammers from a legal angle as Paul here is from a road safety angle.

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Ticketo ergo sum : I scam therefore I am!


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 11, 2005 23:49 
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Congratulations, John, and to those at Pepipoo who assisted.

:clap1:

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Our scrap speed cameras petition got over 28,000 sigs
The Safe Speed campaign demands a return to intelligent road safety


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 08:35 
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:drink:

I trust you have made a hefty claim for expenses.

Any chance of suing for malicious prosecution?

To the scamerati: Why, if there was no evidence, did this case (and many others) go all the way to court? If you are just prosecuting people at random you may as well do away with the hi-tech equipment and just send out fines to random addresses. It will do as much for road safety and probably bring in as much money.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 12, 2005 14:00 
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Excellent news mate, couldn't have happened to a nicer partnership!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 11:47 
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Any chance of a precis of the 'case'?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 13, 2005 13:07 
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Ok, here's a quick overview. I'll chuck in one or two of the legal technicalities for those who have an interest, which them as don't might want to skip over. Either way, I think the whole thing raises one or two interesting issues..

The original allegation was 47 in a temporary 40 limit on the M6 in Cheshire, last May. I received a correctly served NIP, but for various reasons which I won't go over again I was absolutely certain I had not transgressed the limit in this way.

I thought about it, and in the end decided to go to court with it, largely out of pig-headedness, and a fundamental belief that I was innocent and that to plead guilty would in effect be purjury! In short, I thought "Sod it, I'll go down fighting".

So I started off a thread on pepipoo seeking advice on how best to defend the case, and sat tight. It seemed a bit like the CPS were playing games, as they sat on the case for several months, but then the summons was issued within days of it "timing out" under the six month rule.

Back onto pepipoo, and the general consensus was that arguing a "fact based" defence would be of little or no value, as any evidence produced on the day would be well-nigh impossible to counter. So various ideas were put forward for technical defences, based on likely errors or omissions in the prosecution case. It seemed very much like this was the best way forward.

Around about this point it came to light that a certain person who shall remain unnamed, but whom is well known for his anonymous visiting of various "fora", had taken a sudden interest in the thread on pepipoo. A decision was taken that we didn't really want to prepare our defence case in the belief that someone with possible connections with the prosecution was closely following it, so the whole thing was moved into a private "members only" area.

As the case progressed towards court, the prosecution made it clear that they intended to fight the case by "S.9 witness statement", rather than actually produce any witnesses in court. This is quite normal procedure in such cases, where the purpose of witnesses is largely just to "lead" exhibits. We prepared our defence accordingly.

One crucial part of the statute we picked up on was that in cases of this nature, if the CPS wish to produce any evidence in court then they MUST disclose a copy of it to the defendant at least 7 days prior to trial. Now on Monday 4th April I had no copies of the primary evidence for the case, so it seemed we were home and dry. I posted as much on the "members only" thread on pepipoo.

Lo and behold, the CPS then disclosed the relevant evidence the very next day. We decided this made no difference to our plans, as this merely strengthened our case that the 7 day deadline had not been complied with.

So off to court, and the next big surprise was the prosecutor unexpectedly producing the author of all the witness statements in person. So it seemed that not only did they REALLY want this case to stick, but also that they were fully aware of our intended line of defence.

So we went with our original defence, namely that the evidence was inadmissible under s20 RTA 1991, as it had not been disclosed. Crucially, the Clerk of the Court recognised this straight away, and confirmed that the requirements of the statute were absolute. Despite a lot of protestation and "wheedling" by the prosecution the Magistrates rendered the primary evidence inadmissible.

The prosecution then tried an amazing "last ditch" effort, which was to try and get their witness to use the inadmissible statement in front of him as an aide memoire so that he could give the evidence orally. The reason for calling the witness in the first place now became apparent, along with a strengthening of my suspicion that our defence preparation had been eavesdropped upon right to the last.

Anyway, this caused a further adjournment and much worrying, but in the end the court ruled that there was but one way for automated evidence to find it's way into the court and that was via s20 RTA 1991, which had clearly not been complied with.

So after over an hour the prosecution finally rested, and I presented the simple defence case of no evidence, therefore no case to answer. The magistrates adjourned once more, then returned a verdict of no case to answer.

That's the bare bones, if you want the full story you'll have to go onto pepipoo and join - or PM me!

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Ticketo ergo sum : I scam therefore I am!


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:25 
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How much are your costs, John?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 14, 2005 20:06 
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Well done, mate.

It brings a little worry to the table of "foul play" here. In the light of this I suggest that, for cases where a summons is issued, these be debated either by group e-mail or, probably better, by invited audience to a specific forum. Invitess would have to be chosen on a "black ball" basis I think.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 17, 2005 08:18 
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Excellent news! Well done, mate! Glad someone is fighting back!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 12:57 
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I always find these sorts of outcomes quite unsatisfactory in that if I've understood correctly, you won simply because of an administrative error on the part of the prosecution, rather than their case lacking merit in other respects. It would be much more satisfactory if precedents could be set for disproving the accuracy of speed measurement devices.

I myself gave into a fixed penalty notice not so long ago, paid the fine and took the 3 points, however I did not believe that the claimed speed was accurate. I might be under a misapprehension here, but my understanding is that payment of a fixed penalty fine and endorsement of a license does not constitute a criminal conviction. On the other hand, if you go to court and lose, then you will have a criminal conviction. For someone who is considering emigrating to another country in the future, this is a distinction of massive importance. IMO it's just organised extortion.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 13:30 
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As far as I have been led to believe, whilst speeding is a criminal conviction, it is not a recordable offence, so would have no bearing on anyone wishing to emigrate. In this respect there is, as I understand it, no difference between a fixed price ticket and a court conviction.

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Ticketo ergo sum : I scam therefore I am!


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 22, 2005 19:25 
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JT wrote:
As far as I have been led to believe, whilst speeding is a criminal conviction, it is not a recordable offence, so would have no bearing on anyone wishing to emigrate. In this respect there is, as I understand it, no difference between a fixed price ticket and a court conviction.


I actually found it very hard at the time to find definitive information on the subject. I was pretty sure that paying the fixed penalty did not constitute a criminal conviction, because of the wording on the penalty notice which said something along the lines of "we will take no further action if the fine is paid etc", and receiving a conviction would certainly not constitute "no further action" to my mind. After some searching, I found this page:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/northernireland/co ... ring.shtml

Although that applies to Northern Ireland, it made enough sense when combined with other information that I concluded the same is most likely true for England, possibly the rest of the UK as well.

On the issue of recordable vs other offences, as I understand it there are 3 types of offence:
- Summary - Magistrates court only
- Either-way - Magistrates or crown court
- Indictable - Crown court only

Recordable offences seem to be the Either-way and Indictable offences. Now, from here:
http://www.canadaimmigrationlaw.net/Lib ... ctions.htm
it seems that even summary offences can prevent immigration, if the person has 2 or more of them. Speeding would be in this category.

Also, I read a forum post where someone said that they were surprised when they received the police report that they had to obtain for immigration purposes, as it showed a speeding conviction.

So, I am pretty sure that if you go to court to contest a speeding prosecution and lose, then it constitutes a summary criminal conviction, and if you get two of them in five years, it would prevent you from emigrating to Canada (and possibly other countries, too).

What I am less sure of is if you are any better off if you don't go to court, and instead just pay the fine and take the points. All I have to go off is the wording on the notice I received, the fact that there is nothing in the "date of conviction" column on my license for the endorsement, and the bbc website link above.


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